Yesterday it backfired on me.
About a month ago, I scheduled a post for Monday that was a reprint of an article I wrote about something that was helping me cope with the loss of my father.
And then I forgot.
Right on schedule, it posted in the morning, and I didn’t realize it was up until later in the day. The timing couldn’t have been worse. I took it down. In light of the precious lives snuffed out in Newtown, Connecticut, the devastated families, friends, and community, and the heaviness of grief bearing down on the whole country, talking about what helps seems premature.
When Mary of Bethany was shattered by the death of her brother and by the fact that Jesus didn’t show up when they needed him most, Jesus didn’t try to use words. He didn’t explain. Didn’t try to cheer her up. Didn’t point out some silver lining to her pain.
Instead, Jesus entered her grief and simply wept with her.
The Apostle’s advice to “Weep with those who weep” contains a wealth of wisdom and the deepest kind of empathy anyone can offer. If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you know exactly what I mean.
To quote from a blog I wrote back in 2007 after we lost Frank’s brother Kelly James on Mount Hood,
“Grieving, I am learning, isn’t an event. It is a process. Right now I have no idea how long that process lasts. For some, I can imagine, it lasts a lifetime. But perhaps by following Jesus’ example we can find ways to allow the grieving to grieve and to be with them in their sorrow.”